Robert Cheung became another Vancouver bracelet holder, taking command with three players remaining to best 2,778 players in the $1.5k NLH event.
It was another huge Saturday field that gathered at the Rio as this time the field was limited to 500 alternates. Players who cashed included Juha Helppi (236th $3,223), Quinn Do (193rd $3,982), and Paul "Dr. Pauly" McGuire (119th $4,740) in his first WSOP cash. An impressive trio was in line at the cashier in 41st-43rd place: Men "The Master" Nguyen, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, and Sorel "Imper1um" Mizzi, each earning $15,547 for their trouble.
The chip counts for the Final Table:
Andrew Lee (1.58m)
Robert Cheung (1.1m)
John Kranyak (1.04m)
Erica Schoenberg (1.02m)
Chris Bjorin (875k)
Nick Goodall (770k)
Suey Wong (735k)
Richard Murnick (710k)
Ernie Crespo (490k)
The best player at the table was Chris Bjorin. It was his third WSOP Final Table this June, and he was in a great place to pick up his third bracelet. The best looking player at the table was Erica Schoenberg. Her win over Anna Wroblewski last month in the Mandalay Bay for $105,875 was a demonstration that she was indeed a solid player.
Broadcast at the shrouded table and webcast on an hour delay, they quickly made some room at the table with a departure on the first hand. With the blinds at 20k/40k with a 5k ante, Cheung made it 80k from early position. Goodall called left of the button, and Schoenberg called the small raise from the big blind. She checked, and Cheung bet 120k, then Goodall sat for a minute before he moved all-in. Schoenberg thought for a minute before she too pushed all her chips in the middle. Cheung folded , and watched Goodall show to Schoenberg's for a set. They held up, and Nick Goodall was out in 9th ($40,195).
With that, a new chipleader was born in Erica Schoenberg as she crept up to 2.1m. Her game has been honed not only by her play but by railing her fiance, David Benyamine, in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio. He won the worst boyfriend award as he sat in the tent playing Omaha with Amy Calistri. After the blinds moved up to 30k/60k, she used pocket tens to call Ernie Crespo's shove with pocket fives. He was out in 8th ($51,192), and she was almost up to 3m. Suey Wong busted out when he moved all-in with over Richard Murnick's raise with . He called and stayed good, and Wong was gone in 7th ($68,255).
Short stacked, Chris Bjorin called Richard Murnick's all-in move under the gun. Bjorin had and hoped he could double up to have a chance. Murnick showed , and sent the best player left home in 6th ($87,215). Schoenberg still had the chip lead, but everyone was over a million in chips.
Erica Schoenberg (2.84m)
Andrew Lee (1.87m)
Richard Murnick (1.38m)
John Kranyak (1.36m)
Robert Cheung (1.03m)
Cheung immediately doubled through Lee to strengthen his case. He raised with only to see Lee move all-in from the big blind. He instantly called, and Lee showed . No one connected, and Cheung stacked his new chips. The blinds moved up to 60k/120k with a 15k ante, raising the stakes for these five players. Lee moved all-in under the gun then was called by Kranyak from the big blind, incredulously with . Lee showed , and Kranyak flopped a king to send Lee out the door in 5th ($119,447).
Kranyak was the new chip leader with 2.4m to Schoenberg's 2.31m and Cheung's 2.08m. Murnick pulled up the rear with 1.19m. Schoenberg showed her muster when she immediately made it 1m to go in the big blind when Kranyak raised 300k in the small blind. She had , and he folded . It looked like it was her event to win until a mistake by Murnick went good.
He moved all-in under the gun for 1.5m and Schoenberg called with . Murnick showed , and it looked like he was headed for the door. The flop came , bringing an open ended straight draw to him. gave him the straight, and Murnick had doubled through Schoenberg.
It was back and forth between these four, with Cheung holding the chip lead at 3.23m and Kranyak (2.18m), Schoenberg (1.52m), and Murnick (1.4m) now chasing. In three hands, the Final Table was over. First, Cheung came over the top of Kranyak, who called with . Cheung showed , and John Kranyak went back to New York in 4th ($170,639). Blinds moved up to 80k/160k with a 20k ante, Cheung moved all-in from the small blind. Schoenberg quickly called with , and Cheung flipped over . meant a dazed Erica Schoenberg was gone, out in 3rd ($261,646).
Heads-up, Cheung again moved all-in and again was called, this time by Murnick with . Cheung had , and he picked up an ace on the turn to seal the deal. Richard Murnick was elated with 2nd ($417,117). The father of three girls and a boy had been through a difficult tournament. In Day 2, his wife's grandmother became very ill in Alaska. He abandoned his chips to coordinate travel for his wife and contemplated leaving the event to meet her there. His wife urged him to stay and finish the job, and the Financial Planner from Montclair, New Jersey had a new bit of funds to handle; his own.
Robert Cheung joined a strong Vancouver contingent at this year's World Series of Poker as he accepted the WSOP bracelet along with $673,628. As for many successful players, it was about patience. "Patience paid off for me," he said. "I sat through the first four or five levels until my cards came, and then I also got lucky at the right time."
This is no fluke, as it is his third WSOP cash this year. Combine that with a victory at a $1k Bellagio tournament and a 4th place at a WSOP Circuit Event in Lake Tahoe, and his results prove he belongs. He got there through hard work after he finished 23rd in a $1.5k NLH event last year. He now can sit at any table he wants.